Mastering the Art of Cooking Parsnips

If you’re tired of the same old vegetable dishes and want to spice up your meals, then parsnips are an excellent addition to your cooking repertoire. These sweet, nutty root vegetables are an excellent source of dietary fiber, vitamin C, and potassium and can be cooked in a variety of ways. From roasting to pureeing, learning how to master the art of cooking parsnips will add depth and flavor to your meals. In this article, we’ll explore the different ways to cook parsnips, share tips on how to choose the best ones, and offer a few delicious recipes to try at home.

Mastering the Art of Cooking Parsnips | Eat Urban Garden
Mastering the Art of Cooking Parsnips

What are Parsnips?

If you’re new to the world of root vegetables, you might not have heard of parsnips before. They’re a close relative of the carrot and have been cultivated for centuries – in fact, they’re believed to have been brought to Europe by the Romans. Today, they’re still grown throughout the world, often used in soups, stews, and even as a substitute for potatoes in mash.

The Origin of Parsnips

Parsnips were originally grown as a food crop in Europe and Asia. They belong to the family Apiaceae, which also includes carrots, celery, and fennel. It’s believed that they originated in the Mediterranean region, but they quickly spread throughout Europe, where they were cultivated for their sweet and nutty flavor.

Today, parsnips are grown in many parts of the world, including North America, South America, and Australia. They’re particularly popular in colder climates, where they’re often used as a winter vegetable.

How Parsnips Differ from Other Root Vegetables

While parsnips are often compared to carrots, there are some key differences between the two vegetables. For one thing, parsnips are larger and more tapered than carrots, with a cream-colored skin and a slightly yellow, sweet flesh.

Parsnips also have a much stronger flavor than carrots – they’re sweeter and nuttier, with a hint of earthiness. This makes them a great addition to soups and stews, as well as a delicious roasted vegetable on their own.

  • Unlike carrots, parsnips are rich in vitamins and minerals. They’re particularly high in vitamin C, vitamin K, and folate, as well as potassium and manganese.
  • Parsnips are also a good source of fiber, which makes them great for digestion and can help with weight management.

Nutritional Value of Parsnips

Parsnips are a versatile and nutritious vegetable that can provide a range of health benefits. These root vegetables are packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and dietary fiber, making them an excellent addition to any diet. Here are some of the key nutrients found in parsnips:


Parsnips are a good source of several essential vitamins, including:

  • Vitamin C: This antioxidant vitamin helps boost your immune system and protect your cells from damage.
  • Vitamin K: Parsnips contain vitamin K, which is necessary for blood clotting and bone health.
  • Vitamin E: This vitamin plays a role in skin health and has antioxidant properties.
  • Vitamin B6: Parsnips are a source of vitamin B6, which is involved in energy metabolism and the production of brain chemicals such as serotonin and dopamine.


In addition to vitamins, parsnips also contain several essential minerals:

  • Potassium: This mineral plays a vital role in maintaining healthy blood pressure and helps support heart health.
  • Manganese: Parsnips are a good source of manganese, which is important for bone health and helps regulate blood sugar levels.
  • Magnesium: This mineral is involved in hundreds of biochemical reactions in the body, including muscle and nerve function and blood pressure regulation.
  • Phosphorus: Parsnips contain phosphorus, which is necessary for strong bones and teeth.


Parsnips contain several antioxidant compounds that help protect your cells from damage. One of these is falcarinol, a compound that has been shown to have anti-cancer properties. Other antioxidants found in parsnips include carotenoids, flavonoids, and phenolic acids.

Dietary Fiber

Parsnips are an excellent source of dietary fiber, which is important for digestive health and can help lower your risk of heart disease and diabetes. One cup of parsnips contains around 7 grams of fiber, which is more than 25% of the daily recommended intake for adults.

Adding parsnips to your diet can provide a range of health benefits, including improved digestion, heart health, and immune function. The next section will explore some delicious ways to prepare parsnips in your kitchen.

Preparing Parsnips

Parsnips may not be as popular or common as other vegetables, but these root veggies can add depth and sweetness to your dishes. If you’re new to cooking parsnips, don’t worry! We’ve got you covered. Here’s everything you need to know about prepping parsnips for your next culinary creation.

How to Select the Best Parsnips

When you’re selecting parsnips, it’s essential to pick ones that are firm, smooth, and have a pale-beige color. Avoid those that are shriveled, bruised, or have spots. Smaller parsnips are also said to be sweeter than larger ones. Make sure to check their ends, taproots, and necks if they are lean, and if you want to go for quality over quantity, look for parsnips that are grown organically.

Cleaning and Peeling Parsnips

Parsnips, like carrots, have a thin skin that’s entirely edible. However, most people prefer to peel them before cooking, especially if the skin is imperfect. So, rinse the parsnips thoroughly under running water and use a vegetable peeler or a paring knife to remove the skin. Slice off the two ends and throw them away. Don’t forget! After peeling, parsnips and apples can turn brown when exposed to the air, so you may sprinkle lemon juice on them to keep them whiter for longer.

Cutting Parsnips

  • Cut off the rough, woody part of the taproot, leaving the lighter yellow part, then cut them into 2-inch chunks. This part takes the longest to cook and might not soften entirely if you leave them too large.
  • You can also cut parsnips into rounds or batons, depending on your recipe. For consistent sizes, use a mandoline slicer or a V-slicer.
  • For roasting, try cutting the parsnips into chunks slightly more significant than bite-sized, as they will shrink slightly in the oven.

Cooking Techniques

Parsnips are a versatile vegetable that can be cooked in a variety of ways. Whether roasted, boiled, mashed or stir-fried, there is no shortage of ways to enjoy this delicious root vegetable.


Roasting parsnips brings out their natural sweetness and nuttiness. To roast parsnips, preheat your oven to 200°C/180°C fan/gas mark 6. Wash and peel the parsnips before cutting them into evenly-sized pieces. Toss the parsnips in olive oil, salt and pepper and place them onto a baking sheet. Roast the parsnips for 20-30 minutes until they are golden, crispy and tender on the inside.


Boiling parsnips is a simple and quick way of cooking them. Wash, peel and cut the parsnips into small pieces and place them into a pot of boiling water. Boil the parsnips for 10-15 minutes until they are tender. Drain the water and add butter, salt and pepper to taste.


Mashed parsnips make a perfect side dish to any meal. Peel and cut the parsnips into small pieces and place them in a pot with enough water to cover them. Bring to a boil and cook for 15 minutes until tender. Drain the water and mash the parsnips with a fork or potato masher. Add butter, salt and pepper to taste.


Stir-fried parsnips make a nutritious and flavorful addition to any stir-fry. Wash, peel and cut the parsnips into thin strips or small pieces. Heat oil in a frying pan or wok over medium-high heat. Add sliced parsnips, garlic and ginger and stir-fry for about 5 minutes until the parsnips are tender. Add soy sauce, honey and sesame seeds to taste.

Flavor Pairings

If you’re wondering what to pair with parsnips, fret not! These root vegetables are incredibly versatile and can be combined with a variety of other ingredients to create unforgettable meals. Here are some delicious flavor pairings that you can try:

1. Rosemary and garlic

Garlic and rosemary are the perfect herbs to use when roasting parsnips. The garlic adds a pungent, slightly spicy flavor while the rosemary adds a warm, earthy flavor. To make roasted parsnips with garlic and rosemary, simply toss your parsnips with chopped garlic, minced rosemary, salt, and olive oil, and roast them in the oven until they’re golden brown and crispy.

2. Honey and mustard

If you’re looking for a sweet and savory way to enjoy parsnips, try pairing them with honey and mustard. Honey adds a delicate sweetness that balances out the parsnips’ earthy flavor, while mustard adds a tangy kick. To make honey mustard glazed parsnips, simply mix together honey, Dijon mustard, garlic powder, salt, and pepper, and toss it with your parsnips. Roast the mixture until the parsnips are caramelized and tender.

3. Ginger and orange

Ginger and orange are a match made in heaven for parsnips. Ginger adds a spicy kick while orange adds a bright citrusy flavor. To make ginger orange glazed parsnips, simply mix together orange juice, freshly grated ginger, honey, salt, and pepper, and toss it with your parsnips. Roast the mixture until the parsnips are caramelized and tender.

4. Thyme and maple

For a sweet and savory twist on roasted parsnips, try pairing them with thyme and maple. Thyme adds a subtle, earthy flavor while maple adds a sweet, caramelized note. To make thyme maple roasted parsnips, simply mix together maple syrup, chopped thyme, melted butter, salt, and pepper, and toss it with your parsnips. Roast the mixture until the parsnips are golden brown and tender.

5. Cumin and coriander

If you’re looking for a spicier way to enjoy parsnips, try pairing them with cumin and coriander. Cumin adds a warm, smoky flavor while coriander adds a slightly sweet and citrusy note. To make cumin coriander roasted parsnips, simply toss your parsnips with ground cumin, ground coriander, salt, and olive oil, and roast them in the oven until they’re crispy.

Parsnip Recipes

If you’re looking for new recipes to try out, look no further. Whether you’re craving a simple side dish or a hearty soup, these parsnip recipes will not disappoint. Here are six delicious parsnip recipes that will leave you satisfied:

1. Mashed Parsnips with Thyme

This recipe is perfect for a quick and easy side dish. Boil parsnips until they are soft, then mash them. Season with thyme, butter, salt and pepper for a fragrant and comforting side dish.

2. Parsnip Chips

If you’re a fan of potato chips, you need to try parsnip chips. They’re simple to make and a delicious snack. Slice parsnips thinly, and season with oil and salt. Bake for 15-20 minutes and enjoy crispy chips with a sweet and nutty flavor.

3. Parsnip Soup

If you’re a soup lover, parsnip soup is a must-try. Saute onions and garlic, add chopped parsnips and chicken broth, and simmer until tender. Puree in a blender, then top with sour cream and chives for a comforting and creamy bowl of soup.

4. Glazed Parsnips

This recipe is a great option for a holiday side dish. Roast parsnips with butter, brown sugar, and salt for a sweet and savory side dish that will be a hit at any gathering.

5. Parsnip Fries

For a healthy alternative to french fries, try parsnip fries. Slice parsnips into wedges, season with oil and spices, and bake until crispy. Serve with a spicy dipping sauce for a satisfying and guilt-free snack.

6. Parsnip and Apple Stew

This recipe is a great option for a hearty and comforting meal. Saute onions, celery, and parsnips, then add diced apples, chicken broth, and herbs. Simmer until the vegetables are tender and the flavors have melded together. Serve with crusty bread for a satisfying and warming meal.

Thank You for Joining Us

We hope you have enjoyed learning how to master the art of cooking parsnips. With this knowledge, you can now create delicious and healthy dishes that your family and friends will love. Don’t forget to check back soon as we have many more recipes and cooking tips to share with you.

Mastering the Art of Cooking Parsnips | Eat Urban Garden

Mastering the Art of Cooking Parsnips

Learn how to master the art of cooking parsnips with these delicious and healthy recipes. Discover the best ways to prepare, store, and cook parsnips.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine European
Servings 4
Calories 245 kcal


  • 4 large parsnips
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 teaspoons of kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon of ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon of minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon of honey


  • Start by peeling the parsnips with a vegetable peeler. Cut off both ends, then cut the parsnips into small pieces, about ½ inch wide and 2 inches long.
  • In a mixing bowl, combine the olive oil, kosher salt, ground black pepper, chopped fresh rosemary, minced garlic, and honey. Add the parsnips to the bowl and toss them with the mixture until they are fully coated.
  • Spread the seasoned parsnips in a single layer on a baking sheet. Roast in an oven at 425°F for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the parsnips are tender and lightly browned. Serve hot and enjoy!
Keyword cooking parsnips, parsnip recipes, healthy cooking

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